31st July 2011 - 9 mins read
Welcome back my beloved 3aibsters.
A few years ago, I was pretty new to the whole dating scene. Growing up, I was pretty sheltered for most of my teenager years and only really started dating in my early twenties. I was quite pleased with myself because I thought that all teenage relationships are temporary and since I was dating in my older years, I would be more mature about it and would be able to find “the one” much easier. Damn, was I wrong.
My best friend invited me to a party on a weekend night and it was also around the time that I had just started recently “partying,” so to speak. At this time, I had discovered that meeting boys at parties was somehow easier than in my day-to-day routine and I thought that maybe this is just how people did it these days - they went to parties or clubs, saw someone they thought was attractive enough, chatted them up and took it from there. Maybe they would go on a date or two and if they found they liked each other, it would develop into a relationship. Now, I wasn’t so naive to think that there weren’t boys out there who just wanted that “one thing” but I figured that option existed with any guy. It didn’t mean that just because a guy approached me at a party or club that he would be a sleazebag. If I’m an overall good person and I’m there, then it means that anyone else who was there could be equally decent. I still strongly believe in this logic and since I find it so difficult (I swear, it’s so hard) to meet guys in other ways, I’m not objected to the idea at all. And I have to admit that throughout my years of dating, I have met a decent guy or two that way, but more on that in later posts.
So, my best friend Pixie and I dressed up and went to this party. Let me mention now that this party was on February 12, two days precisely before Valentine’s Day. Once we got to the party, we found that it was on the quieter, emptier side as we had gotten there pretty late in the evening. Since the indoor area of the party was too dead and too boring, we decided to stand outside and enjoy the gorgeous winter weather by the water. Just a few minutes after stepping outdoors, two gentlemen from the party followed us outside. They struck up a casual conversation and it was nothing outside the usual: “What do you do? Where are you from?” Etc. etc. etc. The two boys were of Eastern descent but spoke in very heavy British accents, which indicated that they had spent most of their lives abroad from their home countries. This was an appealing quality to me as I had also spent a great portion of my life outside of my home country and in general, I found that this was important in finding a man to date, as he would be more understanding of my character and viewpoints. After quite some time into our conversation, I found that one of the two gentlemen, seemed to have taken an interest in me and vice versa, I found him to be interesting. Throughout the course of the evening, F and I talked some more and eventually went back inside to dance. In my mind, I thought it was so far so good. He seemed to be well-educated, intellectual, eloquent, blah, charming, interesting, blah, blah, decent-looking and all the other normal things a girl ticks off on her checklist (again, yes, all women have a checklist). The only flaw, which wasn’t something I considered deadly, was that he was a few years older than me - in his mid-thirties while I was in my very early twenties.
As the night went on, F and I found that we had connected and he leaned in to kiss me at one point. Though I’m not the biggest fan of physical interaction at first sight, it seemed appropriate and timely, given the nature of our chemistry throughout the night. A few minutes after we kissed, I checked my phone to see if anyone had called me and F says to me: “Is that your boyfriend calling you?” I responded saying: “I don’t have a boyfriend. If I did, I wouldn’t have just kissed you. You know, I’ve got a good head on my shoulders.” He didn’t seem to really understand what I said and it was a bit of a strange question but I brushed it off as it didn’t make any real sense to me. Later on in the night, F asked me out to dinner on Valentine’s Day and since I’m quite the tease, I wanted to have a bit of fun with him. When he asked me for my number, I told him he could only call me and take me out if he was able to find my number in his phone. I typed my number in his phone and saved it under the name “Surprise Me.” I handed him back his phone, said goodbye and left.
On our way home, I filled in my best friend on the details of the night and she asks me, “What’s his name again?” I realized at that point that I had forgotten his name (which becomes significant later on in the story) and she says to me: “I think he said his name was F.” (His name’s not actually F - she said his actual name). I didn’t really care because I didn’t place much emphasis on remembering his name at this point. We hadn’t even gone on our first date yet and I just sort of forgot what his name was. Don’t judge me - it happens.
Time went by and in the two days leading up to Valentine’s Day, F had found my number (his actual message to me was: “I found you, Miss Surprise Me”) and called me. We made plans to meet in the evening time for coffee. He wanted to take me it to some carnival, but I wanted to get right down to business and get to know him better through talking. I don’t like wasting my time and if in our first date I found he was a douche, it wouldn’t be worth a second date. But I was pretty excited about the first date. In general, women tend to get very excited about first dates because they like the new experience of getting to know someone they just met. I was extra excited though because it was my first Valentine’s Day date ever. In fact, this was my first date with a guy ever. It wasn’t my first experience with a man (as you’ll find out soon enough) but it was my first real date - getting dressed up, the small talk, coffee - the whole nine yards. While I was slightly hesitant because of his older age, I told myself that I wouldn’t want to be judged for my age by anyone else so I shouldn’t be doing it myself to someone. I figured that I liked older guys anyway and that there was no harm in going out to coffee with him. I just had one loose end I needed to tie up - finding out what his name was. I called up my other best friend, Ellie, and told her my problem. Being the most creative person I know, Ellie decided she would fake being a telemarketer and call him to confirm his name. As soon as she called him with a fake accent asking him to participate in a survey, he got rid of her before she even got a chance to ask for his name. Ellie called me and said, “Sorry, I tried. You’re on your own for this.”
I met up with F in the evening and we headed to our destination for our date. As we walked to the coffee shop, he told me several stories, some of which involved other people talking to him and saying, “F, you should’ve done this or that.” Perfect. I got to find out his name without having to awkwardly ask. Once we got to the coffee shop, we ordered our drinks and being a gentleman, he paid. I’m not the biggest fan of men paying for me, especially so early on in a relationship, but knowing how Eastern men get about this, I don’t argue too much. I offer a few times and when he insists, I let it go (they don’t always insist though - but more on that in another story). We sat outdoors as the weather was at its peak this time of the year and enjoyed a great conversation for about forty-five minutes or so. I mentioned to him that I have work experience in the field of research and he says to me, “Oh my God. When I was getting ready to meet you, this really annoying woman called asking me to participate in a survey. I didn’t have time and couldn’t be bothered so I told her I’d call back and never did.” As he told me this story, knowing it was Ellie who had called him, I had to resist exploding into little bursts of hysterical laughter all over the place.
Our evening was going great. I couldn’t believe that I was on my first date ever and it was actually going well. I always thought it would be an epic fail, but this was going so well. I actually liked this guy. He actually seemed like a great fit. He had a lot of the qualities I wanted in a man and I definitely pictured our second, and maybe even third, date. His older age worked to my advantage because I like, and actually expect, maturity in a man. In our conversation, he mentioned that he only moved to my city just a few months ago and how he had shifted his career from one industry to another. In getting to know him better, I decided to ask why he made the move from halfway across the world to a Middle Eastern city.
Me: “Why’d you move here?”
F: “I took a turn in my career and this place is ideal for my new line of work. But that’s not the only reason why.”
Me: “Oh, why else?”
F turned to the side and mumbled something incoherent to himself, in a much lower tone than he was speaking in earlier. I was very surprised and asked him one or two more times, “Sorry, what did you say?” in which he would respond again in the mumbled voice.
After a few seconds of silence, I looked F directly in the eye and said, “Are you married?”
F: “Yes and I have two kids.”
My heart sank directly into my feet. I couldn’t believe that he was married and sitting here on a date with another girl. I was crushed - not because I liked him but because this man didn’t seem to respect the sanctity of marriage, not at all, not one bit. It was upsetting and offensive that he would think he could do this and get away with it.
Me: “Then what are you doing here on a date with me?”
F: “You’re the first girl in months that I had the courage to talk to, or kiss, or ask out on a date. I swear to you I haven’t touched another girl since I moved here.”
Me: “That’s all well and good but it’s not acceptable. You’re married which means that you kissing me and taking me on a date is cheating.”
We didn’t end the night abruptly as F began explaining some of the problems he had with his wife. He didn’t seem to think that he had “done any wrong” at first and it was only then that the whole “is that your boyfriend calling you” thing had clicked in my mind. He was easing his own conscious at the party by trying to justify that even people in relationships step outside once in a while. I was upset with what he did but even more upset that he didn’t seem to think he had done anything wrong. In his mind, since he was separated from his wife and they had their issues, it was okay to be with someone else. After that initial shock, I talked him through some of his issues and told him that I had personally come from a broken home, so I was very understanding of marital problems. I concluded by telling him that no matter what issues he had with his wife, it was his moral, social, religious and whatever else duty to end his marriage with his wife first if he decided he wanted to be with someone else. I think my exact words were: “Get your shit together before you run around starting some other shit.” I told him that this of course meant we wouldn’t be seeing each other again, because this was in no way acceptable by my standards (and I would assume the majority of humanity as well). Once I left, I ran straight to Pixie’s house and wailed the entire story to her in complete disbelief and shock. Only now that it’s been so long since this happened, and I’ve seen it happen to so many people I know, that I can actually look back at it and laugh. In fact, I’ve grown as a person too. Because of that night, I have no shame in asking a man in the first second of our conversation, “ARE YOU MARRIED?!”
And just like that, this became the memory of my first Valentine’s Day date ever…. and my first date ever. Absolutely adorable, wouldn’t you agree?
Kisses and hugs,